Despite positive offshore leads, the Australian share market opened lower this morning and remained in the red after the release of weaker than expected Chinese manufacturing figures, before closing 0.48 percent down.
The S&P/ASX 200 index shed 21 points today to finish at 4,397. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 20 points down.
An early read on China's manufacturing activity has shown the sector continues to contract: The HSBC flash China manufacturing output index dropped 1.2 points to 47 in September, remaining below 50 which indicates contraction.
Oroton Group Limited’s (ASX:ORL) full year net profit has increased by 0.5 percent to $25 million. CEO Sally Macdonald says the consistent result is reflective of brand development activities and multi channel retailing practices amidst a tough retail market. Oroton has declared a final dividend of 28 cents fully franked, equating to a 50 cent full year shareholder payout. Shares in Oroton closed 2.39 per cent up at $6.86.
Brickworks Limited’s (ASX:BKW) full year net profit has fallen 70 percent to $43 million. CEO Lindsay Partridge attributed the challenging year to significant lows in the residential construction sector. Brickworks has declared a final dividend of 27 cents, taking its full year payout to 40.5 cents per share. Shares in Brickworks closed 0.50 per cent down at $9.99.
Shares in Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) dropped 7.27 per cent after the surf-wear retailer revealed its second suitor had abandoned its bid, leaving TPG Capital as the sole bidder.
Shares in Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) fell 5.85 per cent after confirming Genting has sold its 4.8 per cent stake in the gaming company.
Shares in Silex Systems Limited (ASX:SLX) jumped over 7 per cent after the nuclear and solar energy company received US regulatory approval to build a commercial laser uranium plant in North Carolina.
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has agreed to repay $US715 million to US fund Leucadia National, ending a legal battle.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telco Services adding 14 points to close at 1,323.The worst performing sector meanwhile was Energy, losing 263 points to close at 12,613 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU), rising 8.49 per cent to close at $2.94. Shares in Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) and David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Aquarius Platinum Limited (ASX: AQP), dropping 12.35 per cent to close at $0.71. Shares in Gryphon Minerals Limited (ASX: GRY) and Billabong International Limited (ASX: BBG) were also lower at market close.
Gold is trading at $US1,764 an ounce. Light crude is $1.02 down at $US90.96 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.039.